The Offices of Data Analytics (ODAs) bring together multiple public sector bodies in the UK to share and analyse data to create actionable insights from otherwise isolated information clusters. The Avon and Somerset Office for Data Analytics is one of the UK’s most advanced ODAs and operates as a virtual, cloud-based platform supported by a physical hub of key staff.
As part of our approach, we evaluated projects that could benefit from improved data-driven decision making and, among others, we identified suicide prevention as a project that could benefit from the development of advanced data analytics solutions.
Suicide has a significant impact on the life of a community, its effect ripples outward like a pebble in a pond. A better understanding of factors and evidence-based preventive measures by local services can not only save individual lives but can also bring lasting change to a whole community. Our solution was designed to break data silos and create visualisation tools to enhance data-driven decision making about suicide prevention.
Our work focused on geographical hotspots and changes in time for suicide rates alongside insights on other socio-economic factors that could be associated with areas where suicide rates were higher. The publicly available data sets on the number of suicides in England and Wales were not able to answer some more specific questions, for example: can we estimate how suicide numbers change in time within small areas?
One available dataset on suicide rates focused on small spatial differences within one year, while another highlighted long temporal change, but without granularity on the spatial level. Adopting Sociotech® methodology and features, Trilateral transformed this dispersed data into a comprehensive data asset by combining the available datasets. We brought together the two different datasets to gain new actionable insights that were not accessible from each data set independently. We created an innovative Spatio-temporal view that predicts suicide rates for small areas throughout an extended period which could then enable more accurate planning and distribution of resource to prevent it more effectively.
The outcome of our model informs strategic planning and optimal resource allocation by the Avon and Somerset local public sector bodies as it provides a clearer view of the expected demand for their services in certain areas. The approach also enables prioritising cases based on risk or needs and supports the development of targeted prevention programmes. The data-driven actionable insights gained from the suicide models will strengthen the public health prevention framework in the area.
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK and Samaritans are helplines offering a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. They are open 24/7 and anybody is welcome to call if you need to talk.
For the UK call 0800 689 5652.
For Ireland call 116 123